Kimpton Margot Sydney review: International brand's first Australian hotel is an art deco delight

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Housed in the former Sydney Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board headquarters, the Kimpton Margot replaced the Primus hotel in the building after the Pro-invest Group acquired the property in early 2021. It's the first hotel for the Kimpton brand in Australia. The hotel sits In the heart of Sydney's CBD off Pitt Street, close to the theatres, and walking distance to the dining mecca of Surry Hills. It's the first Kimpton in Australia, a US boutique hotel brand that's now part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group. The "Margot" part of the name is unique to this hotel and is a subtle nod to female artists Margaret Olley and Margaret Preston.

THE SPACE

Supplied PR image for Traveller. Check for re-use. Kimpton Margot Sydney

The lobby. 

The hotel has a grand lobby but lacks a grand street entrance, with guests arriving through what feels like a side door via a lane. Nevertheless, once inside the space is quite striking, with its enormous pink scagliola columns and art deco style. Changes to the furnishing from the previous hotel have aimed for a warm, welcoming feel, with soft lighting and comfortable couches in the centre of the lobby, flanked by reception, the bar and restaurant Luke Mangan's Kitchen (See Food + Drink below). Impressive as the lobby is, it is equalled by the rooftop, which features a gorgeous pool and will be home to a second Mangan eatery later this year.

I'm on the top floor of the seven storeys, which was formerly the home of the water board's Medical Branch, including its testing laboratories, a research library and the staff dining room. All are now converted to hotel rooms but the history of the floor is detailed in a sign near the lifts. The water sample testing explains the tiled walls, which look similar to an old train station underpass, which ironically gives the corridors a slightly subterranean vibe.

THE ROOM

Supplied PR image for Traveller. Check for re-use. Kimpton Margot Sydney

My room, a King Bed Premium, is one of 172 across the hotel. It is spacious, with a couch at the foot of the bed, a long desk which also holds the large, flatscreen television. The art deco touches are here too, including in the gold patterns on the deep blue carpets. Floor-to-ceiling curtains cover the smaller original windows. The marble bathroom is also spacious with a roomy shower and deep bathtub. Toiletries are by Mr Smith and are in large bottles, so don't need to be replaced for every guest (with the exception of small bottles of moisturiser on the sink).

FOOD + DRINK

GOOD FOOD: Luke's Kitchen, Kimpton Margot Hotel, 330-341 Pitt Street Sydney. 27th July 2022, Photo: Wolter Peeters, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: Wolter Peeters

Luke's Kitchen, formerly of Waterloo, has relocated to the hotel and is the flagship restaurant of celebrity chef Luke Mangan. He's on hand the night I dine there, chatting to diners about the menu and wine list. It's modern Australian with influences from Europe and Asia. The caviar tray that circles the restaurant isn't quite within my budget, but I opt for a prawn toast appetiser followed by a spiced lamb rump with roasted beetroots, feta and asparagus. Given Mangan's profile, advance bookings are recommended. See lukemangan.com/lukes-kitchen-new

OUT + ABOUT

The hotel's central location puts you within walking distance of most of the CBD's highlights. One short walk across Hyde Park will get you to the Australian Museum. Kids will love the animal and dinosaur exhibits, and can learn about First Nations' culture in the dedicated learning space Burra. Best of all, entry is free. See australian.museum/

THE VERDICT

The Kimpton's first foray into the Australian market is a stylish addition to the hotel scene. With any luck we'll see a few more of them popping up around the country.

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THE ESSENTIALS

Rooms at the Kimpton Margot Sydney start from $339. See kimptonmargotsydney.com

OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE

★★★★

Highlight

Although the lobby is impressive, it's the rooftop pool that is the piece de resistance and will be even more attractive when the food and drink elements are added.

Lowlight

Given the focus on sustainability in the hotel industry, the hot water takes a very long time to come on in the shower, so that's a lot of water going to waste.

The writer stayed as a guest of Kimpton Margot Sydney.